Friday, 3 June 2011

More paintings from Cornwall (part 2)

Here are a few more plein air paintings from the recent trip to Cornwall.

 'Porthchapel Cove', 13x10in, oil on board

I loved the patterns created by the water marks in the sand, the lines of seaweed and the white foam. Nice rhythms to work with. I had to be quite careful and not overdo it though in order to keep everything balanced. I think I just about got away with it. With the waves moving all the time I had to try and tune in to the essence of what was there. Tricky but fun!

'Stamps an Jowl Zawn – Natural Arch', 13x10in, oil on board

This was a great spot perched on the cliffs near Botallack Head. I'd just done an acrylic of a nearby cliff and went back to the car to fetch the art gear. I'm glad I did because I knew it would be a challenge not to overwork the oils and make the rocks too dark......and I like a challenge :o) The natural arch is amazing! A couple of seagulls add a bit of scale, without hopefully descending into tweesville. I wanted to say something about the wilderness and sense of power you get from the waves and rocks (even on a relatively calm day!).

'Surfing in the zone - Sennen' , 8x10in, oil on board

Tim King and I couldn't resist this coloured flag reflecting in the puddles. As with many of the water subjects we encountered, it changed within minutes (the tide was going out) so I had to rely partly on memory to make it happen. With regards to the surfers, a mere hint was all that was needed.  I didn't want to make it too busy.

'Bright and breezy - towards Penzance', 5x11in, oil on linen canvas board

This was more complex to paint than I imagined with some soft and subtle tones/colours and a tricky compositional balancing act. The passing little one man boat came in very handy! I remember the sun kept going in and out which made things a bit awkward but I tell myself 'there's no use complaining Pilgrim....just get on with it!'

'Purcella Point - Porthcurno', 8x10in, oil on board

I loved painting this one with Tim, perched on the cliffs above Porthcurno, right next to the Minack theatre. I wasn't too happy with the painting afterwards though and have done my best to try and make it behave. Still not sure if it's quite finished.
'Into the light, looking down on Sennen Cove', 8x10in, oil on board

I painted this view of the bay alongside Anthony Bridge and Valerie Pirlot and the light was pretty intense. You could barely look at the water! I wanted to make sure the land wouldn't descend into drabness (which I've been guilty of on previous occasions) as it's easy to overcompensate with the darks. I suppose it's all part of the learning curve though. I tried to judge the relative values as best as possible, knowing full well I couldn't get close to the actual brightness of the light. It's an interesting little zig-zag composition although at the time I didn't consciously think 'there's a nice zig-zag'. I just had a feeling it might be worth a go!

 'Lifeguard hut in the drizzle - Sennen Cove', 5x8in, on board

This was painted on the only day we had rain/drizzle. I quite enjoyed painting Sennen in different conditions and had Anthony painting alongside me from the high vantage point. The lifeguard hut and a hint of figures gives some sort of sense of scale. I liked the close toned greys and the gentle diagonal sweep of the tide patterns.

'Distant Crowns - towards Botallack', 13x10in, oil on board

Painted on a breezy day looking towards Botallack Head. I wanted to try and capture some suggestion of the wild flowers which we were lucky to have.

More Cornwall paintings to follow, including Mousehole harbour and a few Sennen sunsets :o)


  1. I really love these, they make me want to travel. They have such a fresh quality and seem to capture the essence of the place.

  2. These are absolutely gorgeous! I love painting this area and these are so true to it - the silver sea from the cliff, looking back at Sennen Cove is just how the silvery evening light can be. The wet sand and reflections - it's all so evocative :>) - I've painted at most of these places and they are very special.

  3. Thanks Douglas. I really wanted to try and get as close to the 'essence' as I could without overworking and I'm pleased you think they managed this in some way! Although I was quite tired after two weeks I felt as though I was starting to tune into things better. I'd certainly recommend you have Cornwall in your painting travel plans :o)

  4. Thanks for the kind words Vivien! That silver light was so impressive it HAD to be painted :o) I've just popped over to your blog and see we've visited many of the same spots! I really like the energy and freshness you get and they have that elusive 'essence' :o)

  5. Great to see these paintings David. Congratulations, they are fabulous, you really captured it.
    Looking at them i feel like i´m back there, which would be great as its too hot to paint here now. Back in London from mid July for 5 weeks so let me know of any excursions etc.
    David b

  6. Thanks David. Nice to hear from you and glad you feel the paintings capture something of the places we enjoyed sharing.

    Wow, too hot to must be warm out there :o) I'll keep you posted if any trips are in the pipeline.